The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has a unique lifestyle including minimal outdoor activity and intense, prolonged nearby work, beginning at a very young age. Their prevalence of myopia is extremely high. This paper provides a unique insight into the attitudes of this community towards myopia.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish parents of children who came to the pediatric ophthalmology clinic in one tertiary care and two community centers in ultra-Orthodox-oriented cities were given a questionnaire. Demographic information, along with myopia prevalence in the family, was gathered. In addition, their attitudes and common knowledge regarding myopia were investigated.
161 questioners were collected, mostly completed by mothers (n = 110, 68%). The average number of children per family was 6 (range 1-16). In 148 families (92%) at least one of the parents has myopia. The average parent refraction was - 4.5 diopters (range - 0.5 to 15 diopters). Out of 935 children, 410 (44%) wore glasses. Twelve parents (7%) believe that myopia is a disease and 94 (58%) reported that they are concerned because their child wears glasses. Twenty-four (15%) believe that glasses are a sign of a high education level. Regarding treating myopia progression, 144 (89%) think that myopia progression should be treated, but only 36 (22%) are aware of the available treatments for it.
This study examines an insular community with a very high incidence of myopia. In this community most parents think that myopia progression should be treated but most of them are unaware of the currently available treatments.